A frequent raise in the tuition fee by private schools in the federal capital continues to haunt parents.
It has become a nightmare for parents as private schools revise the fee structure without taking into notice the financial problems of parents.
Many private schools were operating in small houses in residential areas without fulfilling the criteria of having sufficient rooms, an equipped laboratory, a library and play grounds for the students.
Government schools are unable to provide quality education, leaving no option for parents but to go to private institutions to educate their children and pay the hefty fees.
Amjad Hussain, father of a student studying in a private
School, said the abrupt raise in fee was a nightmare for the parents.
“The school owners do not even think of the parents, whose budget is greatly disturbed by the sudden fee raise,” he said.
“Private schools charge high annual promotion fees along with other charges, including annual charges, examination fee, sports and medical, putting extra burden on the people belonging to the middle class,” he added.
“The administration of these schools raised the fee without any justification”, Amjad said.
Shaista, mother of another student studying in a leading private school said, “These private schools are acting like money minting machines. They extort money in the name of funds, making education as the most profitable business.”
She said private schools were extracting money from them on one pretext or the other.
“Extra funds are collected from the students on several occasions, making it very hard for the parents, who can hardly afford the tuition fee,” she added.
“We never know why they increase the fee every month,” she said.
“Public schools in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) were providing inexpensive education but they lacked capacity to give quality education,” she lamented.
A senior teacher of a leading private school, on the condition of anonymity, said the students of private schools were winning laurels at national and international level and not those of the public ones.
“We are providing unmatchable services to the people in terms of quality education and good atmosphere. No one can deny the remarkable role of private institutions in the nation building process”, the teacher claimed.
She added that private schools paid taxes regularly and provided quality education services to the people.
FDE’ Senior Director Tariq Masood said the government was taking a special initiative to enhance the standard of education in the capital by bridging the gap between private and public schools.
“The plan is on the cards to realise the dream of a unified education system in the ICT so that the students can get same opportunities without any discrimination,” he added.
He said the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) was handling the affairs of more than 100,000 students and thousands of teachers, besides its own staff.
However, setting up a separate directorate for the college sector would lessen its burden and improve efficiency of the educational institutions.
According to the National Education Policy approved by the government last year, private schools were to be encouraged to offer admission and education services to meritorious students free of charge.
Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority
(PEIRA) Chairman Atif Kiyani said after the passage of the bill from both the houses of parliament, the authority had now power to serve notices to institutions to register with it.
“The bill required the authority to come up with a policy to determine the rate of fee being charged by the institutions, qualification of the teaching staff, their terms and conditions of service, including salaries and mode of payment of their salaries”, he said.
He said PEIRA would ensure that the quality of education, facilities and salaries offered by schools matched the fees charged from students and to ensure uniformity in the education standards of private schools.